Despite the news that outdoor pools in England will be allowed to reopen from 11 July, many lidos will remain closed for a few more weeks, some won’t open at all in 2020 and others will close indefinitely.
On 9 July, Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport announced that outdoor pools could reopen from Saturday, 11 July and indoor pools in England can open from Saturday, 25 July. The announcement was welcomed by swimmers and lido lovers, however, many outdoor pools felt frustrated at the short notice and expectation that they could open in 48 hours.
“Don’t get too excited! So far, only a handful of pools are ready to go. Most pools will take at least a week, maybe two, to clean and heat the water,” says The Lido Guide author Emma Pusill.
The South London Swimming Club of Tooting Bec Lido in south London was quick to manage their swimmers’ expectations taking to social media to explain, “There’s still no news on when Tooting Lido will open. Outdoor pools can now open, but there are specific challenges in running the lido safely. Places Leisure know we’re desperate to get back in the water, but it looks as if we have a long wait ahead of us. We’ll keep you posted.”
Other lidos have announced they won’t open at all in 2020. Shoalstone Seawater Pool, Northcroft Lido, Dartmouth Outdoor Pool, Moretonhampstead Community Swimming Pool Aldershot and Portishead Open Air Pool have all taken the decision to remain closed for the rest of this season. “Having examined the guidance from Swim England and the Royal Life Saving Society we saw that all we would be able to provide, when allowed to re-open, would be a highly regulated lane swimming experience,” says Jon Barr, Chairman of Portishead Pool Community Trust. “We are a community pool and we value the diversity of our pool users. At present, we cannot offer that safe, financially viable and inclusive opportunity to the residents of Portishead and visitors to our town.”
All pools, indoor and outdoor, will open with a booking system in place, much like how open water venues have been operating over the past couple of months. Many lidos, however, are community owned, run by volunteers and face financial hardship, so don’t have the capacity or budget to set up Covid-19 safe systems. Some pools have been forced to make the decision not to open this year at all as the restrictions required for safe swimming mean it isn’t financially viable.
As swimmers the best way to support your local lido is to volunteer or donate some cash. If you are disappointed that your pool isn’t opening, contact them to offer your support.
As at 3pm, Friday 10 July, Outdoor Swimmer can confirm the following pools will open:
Parliament Hill Lido
Closed until 2021
Lidos across Cumbria